23 Entrepreneur & Business Owner Tips from the CEO’s Bookshelf

You’ve heard you are what you eat, well we believe that you are what you read. Teach a CEO presents lessons from our bookshelf on how you can improve and grow your venture. We have taken gems or nuggets from our library and provide them for CEO’s, startups, entrepreneurs and business owners.

  1. Social and mobile connectivity just flat out changed the way we learn about anything and everything. Particularly brands. (The Participation Game)
  2. Don't put yourself in a position where you can be held hostage by angels. They are important, but they are rarely in a position to determine the company's direction. (Venture Deals)
  3. Our run-ins with failure (contraction) have given us a surplus of caution. We've somehow internalized the idea that the reward for following our dreams is not adequate compensation for the pain we experience when things don't work out as we hoped they would. (Let Me Out)
  4. People don't consume advertising. They participate in brands. (The Participation Game)
  5. Your Circle encompasses values, dreams, character traits, causes, people–what truly matters to you. It determines who you will become and what you will accomplish. It defines your purpose and ultimately your happiness and satisfaction. (The Circle Blueprint)
  6. Not all entrepreneurs will succeed when they go out to raise a financing. Failure is a key part of entrepreneurship, but, as with many things in life, attitude impacts outcome and this is one of those cases. (Venture Deals)
  7. When executives are not applying best practices or data to make a decision, more often than not they are relying on their intuition or “gut.” This type of decision making is riddled with flaws and often bring in cognitive biases that influence choice. (Monetizing Your Data)
  8. Consumers know a good idea from a bad one. They know an original idea from a me-too. And there are more new owners coming out every day. So just like you need to go to the gym, you need to study ideas to keep your creativity in shape.  (The Participation Game)
  9. Adults who fail to thrive have the small and most unbalanced Circles. They don't value much. Their interests are self-indulgent; their dreams, if they have any, limited to self-protection or pleasure. Their impact on those around them is negative or nonexistent. (The Circle Blueprint)
  10. One of the most effective methods of eliminating fear is to develop a more profound relationship with the people you love. Science has shown that focusing your creativity on elevating and maintaining those bonds results in the greatest level of overall happiness. Yes, love can make you a more creative person! (Let Me Out)
  11. To know whether your actions are working, you need the ability to measure them. This is one of the hardest guiding principles to achieve. It is based largel on the level of automation an organization is able to achieve and the channels in which your organization sells through. (Monetizing Your Data)
  12. The idea here is to think about ways you can reflect the attention back to your consumer rather than talking about yourself. Caring is a good look. (The Participation Game)
  13. We believe the demo, a prototype, or an alpha is far more important than a business plan or financial model for a very early-stage company. (Venture Deals)
  14. You are a marketer marketing to a marketer. Consumers use your brand to brad their brand. (The Participation Game)
  15. There are two kinds of greatness in the world. The first is the greatness of the ego. Many people seek to be recognized for their accomplishments…. The second type of greatness is quite different. It isn't about recognition. In fact, many of those whom we consider great aren't recognized at all. They are great because they have chosen to be noble, to put themselves aside and to take on the needs of others. (The Circle Blueprint)
  16. By applying data science, we derive greater insight from the information that can be used to guide someone to potentially overlooked opportunities and issues. (Monetizing Your Data)
  17. Remember, creativity should not be mistake for mastery; they're two very different things. Creativity is a state of being; mastery is excellence is a set of specific skills. (Let Me Out)
  18. When the content comes from consumers, you win. (The Participation Game)
  19. The most important part of the fundraising process is to close the deal, raise the money, and get back to running your business. (Venture Deals)
  20. The new rules for marketers begin with the consumer's POV, build around your consumers (not your brand)! Be ready for change every day. Give attention first, then worry about getting it. Nurture your brand advocates. Word of mouth is your most powerful weapon. (The Participation Game)
  21. When you look at the things in your life that give you the greatest sense of freedom, they are likely to be your own expressions of creativity, the most meaningful of which can leave you so inspired that you're no longer looking over your shoulder to see where the next nugget of approval is coming from. You're also likely to find that this feeling of freedom occurs most often in the areas of your life where you've imposed the most rigorous structure on yourself. (Let Me Out)
  22. Purpose is a clear understanding of how to deploy your giftedness in the most useful manner. Your gifts were given to you as an investment that expects a return; they were not give to you only to be used to create your own success and to secure your life. If you use your talents in so small a way, you are missing the bigger picture. When you see the difference you can make in the world, you will be playing the big game—and it is quite likely that your life will be more abundant as a result. (The Circle Blueprint)
  23. The dirty little secret of big data is that most organizations spend the vast majority of their time cleaning and integrating data–not actually analyzing it. (Monetizing Your Data)

CEO Bookshelf

  • The Participation Game: How the Top 100 Brands Build Loyalty In A Skeptical World – Today's consumers are in charge of the ads they see – and the brands they choose to let into their world. Their friends are generating hundreds of interesting and compelling posts a day and commanding their attention. For marketers who assume they can join the conversation, the question is not just how to get some of this attention. It’s how to give it. Even though the game has changed, many brands still play by the old rules – assuming that consumers want to welcome their messaging. Yet other brands easily build authentic connectivity and lead consumers through the purchase funnel to loyalty. When Creative Agency Moosylvania’s Owner, Norty Cohen, opened his own research facility six years ago, his team set out to answer the question, “How and Why Do Consumers Adopt Brands?” The author’s team asked the write-in question, “Name Your Three Favorite Brands,” a total of 5,000 times over a five-year period. Given the responses, the Moosylvania team probed into how and why they became their favorites. In this entertaining and informative journey, consumer responses match up to case studies, key findings and interviews with top brands. The study reveals a new approach – asserting that brand participation is the X factor to building loyalty. For five years, “The Top 100 Brands Report” has been featured in The New York TimesForbesEntrepreneur and Business Insider.
  • Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist: Get the inside scoop on what venture capitalists want to see in your startup. Venture Deals provides entrepreneurs and startup owners with a definitive reference for understanding venture capital funding. More than an overview of the process, this book delves into the details of the term sheet, the players, the negotiations, the legalities, and more, including what not to do. This new third edition has been updated to reflect the new realities of today's intricate startup environment: you'll learn how the decisions are made, what every item on the term sheet means, what's up for negotiation, and what's not. You'll discover the secrets to expanding your prospects, negotiating the right deal for your company, and figuring out the right balance of funding versus control. You'll see the process through the eyes of the venture capitalist, the angel investor, the syndicate, and the lawyer, and develop a strategy that makes funding your company a win for all parties involved.
  • Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life: From award-winning musician turned communications expert Peter Himmelman, science-based techniques and simple exercises to get unstuck and unlock your creative potential. Do you want to stop procrastinating? Would you love to be more creative? Is there an idea you’ve dreamt of making a reality? Whether it's learning ragtime piano, losing 30 pounds, or starting an organic jellybean company, Himmelman's unique, inspiring methods will give you the tools and confidence you need to harness your fear and take steps to make your goals a reality. 
  • The Circle Blueprint: Decoding the Conscious and Unconscious Factors that Determine Your SuccessA roadmap to fulfillment, with practical tools for the journey. The Circle Blueprint is your personal guide to fulfillment. Are you thriving or just surviving? Are you energized, balanced, and happy? This book helps you dig to the root of the problem, and gives you a roadmap for getting your life on a more positive trajectory. You’ll begin with an honest assessment of your current situation, and the life choices that got you there; this is your Circle, and through it, almost anything becomes possible. Your Circle can be adjusted—expanded, narrowed, balanced, or thrown off-kilter—to steer your life where you want it to go. Your Circle must be tended to, and whether you realize it or not, you make these choices every single day. This book helps you define your Circle, master it, and create the life you want to live.
  • Monetizing Your Data: A Guide to Turning Data into Profit-Driving Strategies and Solutions: Transforming data into revenue generating strategies and actions. Organizations are swamped with data—collected from web traffic, point of sale systems, enterprise resource planning systems, and more, but what to do with it? Monetizing your Data provides a framework and path for business managers to convert ever-increasing volumes of data into revenue generating actions through three disciplines: decision architecture, data science, and guided analytics. There are large gaps between understanding a business problem and knowing which data is relevant to the problem and how to leverage that data to drive significant financial performance. Using a proven methodology developed in the field through delivering meaningful solutions to Fortune 500 companies, this book gives you the analytical tools, methods, and techniques to transform data you already have into information into insights that drive winning decisions. Beginning with an explanation of the analytical cycle, this book guides you through the process of developing value generating strategies that can translate into big returns. The companion website,, provides templates, checklists, and examples to help you apply the methodology in your environment, and the expert author team provides authoritative guidance every step of the way.


CBNation helps entrepreneurs and business owners succeed with visibility, resources and connections. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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